Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Review July-December

July was a busy month.  We celebrated the Fourth with friends and a fireworks show.  We went to the lake and enjoyed time out on the water.  Lucas turned 2 on July 24th.  And we packed our bags, loaded up the mini-van and headed out for a great American road trip!
 Leah and Hannah participated in a Fourth of July Parade at church.
 Lucas and I on the boat. The girls and my dad are on the tube being pulled behind us!
Leah loves the lake!

Our big vacation this year included a ten day road trip through eight different states.  We stayed in Loveland, Colorado for a few days, then headed north to South Dakota where we met up with some friends in Rapid City.  My dad joined us for the trip and it was great to make some fun memories together.
 Lucas enjoying a warm Colorado day at the Loveland Sculpture Garden.
 Happy Birthday, Lucas!  We celebrated with a picnic and a swim party while in Loveland.
Snow in July! 
11,000 feet above sea level at Rocky Mountain State Park.
Rock Outcropping in the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.

 Riding the train in Storybook Island
Rapid City, South Dakota
 Me and My Main Squeeze
 Our crew in the Badlands
Mike and Lucas cruising the streets of Keystone
Mt. Rushmore

August was a whirlwind of activity.  We returned from our relaxing vacation on July 31st.  Eleven days later on August 11th, Hannah and Leah started first grade!  We spent those eleven days school supply shopping and trying to fit in any last minute summer fun that we could.
 Two days before school started we took Hannah and Leah out without Lucas.  Just a Mommy/Daddy/Sister date.  We went to Spaghetti Warehouse for lunch and then followed it up with some bowling at Red Pin.
 Hannah contemplating where to roll the ball.
We also made sure to make several after dinner trips to Braum's for some ice cream.  These trips were usually followed up with a trip to the park.  Even though it was hot, I enjoyed the longer, lazy days of summer.

 On Labor Day weekend, our niece Hailey flew in for a visit.  We drove down to Pauls Valley, Oklahoma to check out the Toy and Action Figure Museum. It was really cool!
 Me playing dress-up
 In September we also drove down to Apache, Oklahoma to visit my dad's brothers on their ranch.
 We jumped on hay bales, rode 4-wheelers, and had a cook-out.
In September, my front flower bed looked colorful and vibrant.
I just love my fuchsia crepe myrtle.

October brought along golden sunshine, balmy days, football, Halloween and our annual Lake Tenkiller Trip!
 Hannah "Belle" and Leah "Sleeping Beauty" at their class Harvest party
 I love seeing bright orange pumpkins on the porch.
 A beautiful October sunset
 Sitting outside by the chiminea.
Our family at the lake

We enjoyed cooler weather and shorter days during November.  It was a pretty uneventful month.  We celebrated Thanksgiving at my aunt's house and put up our Christmas tree.  We also started going out to look at Christmas lights!
 Hannah raking the leaves for a good jumping pile on Thanksgiving
 Papa and Lucas busy at work too.
 Hello, sweet face!
Jumping in leaves is hard work, but someone has to do it!

December ushered in another busy month.  Hannah and Leah turned 7 years old on the 16th!  We also took a trip to the east coast to spend Christmas with Mike's family in New Jersey and New York.  
Add in Christmas parties and shopping and wrapping presents and December flew by!
 Our Christmas Tree
 Radio City Music Hall in New York City
 The girls stopping for a photo with Woody from Toy Story
The streets of NYC are filled with characters! Ha! (pun intended)
Merry Christmas!

2011 was such a roller-coaster of a year.  In a way I am glad it is over, and I am excited for a fresh start in 2012.  Thank you for sharing this journey with me.  See you next year! 

Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Review January-June

*I love doing this year end review each year.  I got the idea from my friend Maria at Little Things Are Big.  She is an amazing artist, writer, wife, mother and friend.  Check her out!

2011 was quite a year.  A year of growth and change and heartache and joy.  Here's a look back at what happened in my life.  We'll take it six months at a time.

 I started the year by making some goals.  Some I kept and some I didn't.  
Some I plan to add to my list for 2012.
 In January, Lucas was 18 months old.  He was starting to talk a little more, constantly on the run, and curious as ever.
In January the girls were halfway through kindergarten.  They had just really started reading and really enjoyed school.  We also got hit hard with illness last January.  Leah had strep throat, Type A Flu, and ear infections all at the same time.  She was so sick.  I remember her falling asleep in front of the fireplace and sleeping for hours.

In January, my mom had been moved to a different hospital for physical therapy.  She was weak, but we all thought recovery was still possible.


We celebrated Valentine's Day.

 I turned thirty-four.
 We had snow.  Lots of snow for Oklahoma.  School was out for a week!

The kids were cute as usual.

My mom's chest incision reopened and got infected in February.  Still, her doctor sent her home where a home health nurse came every day to care for her and change the dressing on her wound vacuum.  It was so nice to go visit her in her own home for awhile. She was uncomfortable, but so glad to be home.

 In March Lucas freely offered kisses and was a complete camera ham.
 We had lots of warmer days with blue skies.  And the Bradford Pear Treed started to bloom.
 And as usual, we got lots of springtime rain.  Good, earth-soaking rain.
In March, my aunt hosted a family dinner so that my mom could be a part of it.  Little did I know this was the last picture we would ever take together.

At the end of March, my mom started running a fever.  She was admitted back to the hospital where she was diagnosed with MRSA, a very serious form of staph.  On March 27th, she had trouble breathing when her fever spiked at 105 degrees.  My dad called early that morning and told me to come to the hospital right away.  In a panic, I went.  My friends and family members gathered in a waiting room.  And we prayed.  And we prayed. And we prayed. And then a nurse came in to say the fever was dropping.  It was not her day to die yet.

 In April, the girls got to participate in their first ever fashion show.  They had SO much fun since they love dressing up in frilly clothes.
 Hannah posing on the runway.
 Leah beaming.
 We celebrated Easter in April.  I love this family photo. We took this picture after church on Sunday morning.  Afterwards we went to the hospital to visit my mom.  It was the last day my girls ever saw her.
 The last weekend in April, we headed out to Lake Tenkiller with two other couples for a little vacation.  The weather was gorgeous and it was so good to be out in nature, breathing deep and relaxing with friends.

They day before we left for our lake trip, Lucas and I stopped by the hospital to visit my mom.  Lucas was happy and smiled a lot.  I remember he found a small Nerf ball and played catch with my mom and dad and me.  I remember my mom was in good spirits, and I remember my mom telling her nurse all about how proud she was of her grandchildren.  I remember when I left, I gave her a hug, kissed her head, and told her I loved her.  She hugged me back and told me she loved me too.  Then I remember taking a few steps out of her hospital room door into the hallway when she called out again, "Love you, Em!"
It was the last day I saw my sweet mom.

On May 2, 2011, my mom was released from the hospital again.  Her wound was not healing.  But she was healthy enough to go home and have a home health nurse care for her again.  On May 2nd she slept her own bed, snuggled with her cats, and saw the flowers in her backyard starting to bloom.

On Tuesday, May 3rd, my mom complained of chest pains and said she was having trouble breathing, then she collapsed on the floor.  My dad called 9-1-1.  The Paramedics arrived shortly.  But she was already gone.  In the blink of an eye, my mom was gone.
 Barbara Stafford
October 30, 1948 - May 3, 2011
 I love you, Mom.
 I miss you, Mom.

We had my mom's memorial service on May 6th at the same church where I got married twelve years earlier.
It was beautiful.  Just like her.

Two weeks after my mom passed away, I got on a plane and flew by myself to Casper, Wyoming to visit my friend, Maria.  It was a trip I had planned months earlier, obviously unaware of what would happen on May 3rd.  But I still wanted to go.  I needed to go, to get away.  And I am so glad that I did.

 Me and Maria

Maria, Eric, and Susan, thank you for embracing me like family for the weekend. I will always remember that trip with a lot of fondness and gratitude. 

 In June, I started to breathe again.  Slowly, but surely, I emerged from the foggy haze of May, and started to establish a new normal.  And God was faithful to provide peace along the way.
 June 4, 2011
Mike and I celebrated twelve years of marriage.
 We broke out the water slide for the second summer in a row.
And we endured some 100 degree days. Ugh.
 In June, I started going through some of my mom's things.  I found some treasures along the way, like this ABC needlepoint that she created for my baby room.  Lots of tears were shed.
Healing tears.
The last weekend in June we had a garage sale at my parents' house.
The girls had their first lemonade stand.  I think we drank most of it ourselves!

So there you have it.  The first six months of 2011 in The Galloway House.
Stay tuned for July-December tomorrow!